End of an era for single screen cinemas

22 Dec 2016 | By Supriya

Nearly three dozen single screen theatres in Delhi have been struggling to make ends meet for sometime now.

Iconic theatres like Regal cinema in Connaught Place and Vishal cinema in Rajouri Garden face threat of imminent shutdown.

Competition from multiplexes had led to massive reduction in footfall.

Additionally, since these are cash-businesses, recent demonetization has hit them hard and could sound their death knell.

In context: Single screen cinemas withering away

Theatres glory days

Way back in the 1960s and 1970s, much before the advent of multiplexes, only three movies were screened in a year at theatres. Cinemas were exceedingly popular and often police were deployed to manage crowds. Most movies ran for 4-6 months.

AboutMultiplexes make inroads

The first multiplex in Delhi, PVR Priya, opened in 1997.

Multiplexes changed the movie viewing habits of the populace: movies were screened at regular intervals, services and ambience were several notches above older theatres and they deployed better marketing tools to attract viewers.

Since multiplexes made inroads, visitors to single-screen theatres dwindled.

In the 1970s, there were more than 65 single theatre screens.

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Massive shutters down in recent years

From over 65 single-screen theatres in the 1970s, the number has been shrinking drastically. 25 of these have already shut down and almost 20 single-screen cinemas closed down over the last two years.

22 Dec 2016End of an era for single screen cinemas

Why are theaters struggling?

Key reasonsWhy are theaters struggling?

Single-screen theatres feel burdened with increasing piracy and high entertainment tax; they've also been unable to keep pace with technology.

Ten years ago, these theatres were very popular but now the audience largely comprises of labourers and auto-drivers.

Traffic congestion in areas around theatres has contributed to drop in footfall.

Given that booking tickets has moved online, buying tickets in cash has reduced significantly.

Minimal audience

Manager of Hans Cinema, Praveen Vohra said, "During the night shows of Befikre in the past month there were days when we ran with less than 10 people in the hall. Even the bill of an air conditioner comes to more."